The beginning of the story of Esau and Jacob

The story of Esau and Jacob begins in the book of Genesis in chapter 25. The twins of whom Esau was born first and to who belonged the right of primogeniture and the father’s blessing. Jacob, his younger twin brother, was the complete opposite of Esau. He was an adventurous man who loved hermits, a skillful hunter, his father’s pet. And Jacob, whose name meant deceiver, was his mother’s son, withdrawn, who loved home and household chores, but who above all knew the importance of the birthright and his father’s blessing, that he was willing to do anything to get it.


God promised that the Messiah would be born through Abraham’s descendants, but both Abraham and his son Isaac could not have children for a long time. After many prayers to God, Isaac’s wife Rebekah became pregnant. Even during her pregnancy, Rebecca felt the conflict between her two unborn sons in her womb.

And the Lord said unto her, there are two tribes in her womb, and two nations shall come out; and one nation shall be stronger than another, and the greater shall serve the lesser. In the Hebrew text, he says more precisely, “the older will serve the younger.” So, the firstborn son will not be dominant but the younger one. It was seen in advance that the brothers would fight for supremacy, and their offspring became synonymous with the struggle between sincerely pious and superficially pious people, who became God’s opponents and persecutors of God’s people.

Esau sold his birthright to Jacob

The characteristics they had at birth described their character, which will later significantly direct their lives. At that time, the firstborn had specific rights, which were called the rights of the firstborn. The father, on his deathbed, handed over to the older son the authority over the younger brothers, most of the property, and God’s promise. Such a resignation of rights was called the blessing of the firstborn. As the firstborn, Esau was entitled to this blessing. But he, out of his recklessness, ceded under oath his right to Jacob for a can of boiled red lentils.

That is why Esau called Edom, which means red. In the book of Genesis chapter 25:31-34, we read how Esau sold his rights as firstborn to his brother Jacob. There are two crucial reasons why the position of the firstborn was important. Firstly, the firstborn should be the spiritual leader of the family through whom the Messiah will be born, the Savior whom God promised to Abraham. Secondly, the firstborn received twice as much inheritance, which means that he would be materially twice more loaded.

We will see that the physical, non-spiritual descendants mostly wanted supremacy for the sake of material wealth while the more spiritual descendants wanted to be the spiritual leaders of the family who would secure the birth of the Messiah. As a rule, the primacy belongs to the eldest son, unless the eldest son deviates drastically from God’s law. It is why, in that case, the father or even God would personally give the primacy to the younger son. Thus the primacy automatically belonged to Esau, who was born first. However, Jacob was more pious, and he wanted to be the spiritual leader of the family.

Jacob tricked Esau second time – I part

Esau marries two women of the Hittite family who belonged to the nonbelievers, and their idolaters conflicted with the Law of God. His chosen people must not marry pagans. Esau made Isaac and Rebekah truly sad. He also confirmed that he is guided exclusively by material things and that spiritual life is not important.

Isaac was getting older every day. Therefore, he decided one day to bless Esau and to give him everything that belongs to him by birth. As he was getting older, his eyesight weakened. Isaac, then, said to Esau to go and hunt, prepare a meal, and bring them to eat. Since it is a ceremonial occurrence, food should be served "And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it." (Genesis 27:5, KJV) Since Rebekah heard what Isaac said to Esau, she immediately told it to Jacob. Rebekah resorted to cunning. She needed to exercise quickly.

Then she convinced Jacob to obey her. At first, Jacob objected, because if the father notices that he will be deceived, Jacob will put a curse on himself instead of a blessing. Rebekah then said, let the curse fall on her instead of him. Then they both took two good goats to prepare Isaac to eat. Rebekah quickly cooks the meat, then wraps the goatskin around Jacob’s neck and arms to be as hairy as Esau. And Jacob put on the clothes of Esau, which smelled of the fields and the woods, and went to fetch his father to eat. Jacob came to his father and introduced himself as Esau. He helped him get up to eat his hunt.

Jacob tricked Esau second time – II part

Isaac was surprised by the speed with which he managed to catch and prepare the food. Jacob called on the Lord, as God helped him, the God of Isaac. That lie was not the only one that Jacob told, but after that, he repented bitterly. Isaac, though almost blind, could hear. Of course, he recognized the voice of his younger son. To be sure of his assumption, he invited him to touch him. To his great surprise, even though the voice was Jacob’s, clothes and the smell were Esau’s. So Rebekah’s trick with the goat’s skin worked. Then Isaac blessed Jacob.

His father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son. And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed: Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee. (Genesis 27:26-29, KJV)

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Jacob tricked Esau second time- III part

Shortly after he came out of the tent, Esau came with the hunt for a blessing. Confused, Isaac asks who he is and to whom he just gave a blessing. Esau immediately understood what had happened. He started screaming out loud, and his heart was full of anger. Esau, thinking only of material wealth, asked his father to bless him as well. However, Isaac replied that Jacob came and deceitfully took his blessing.

Esau took the blessings lightly. Obsessed with bitterness, he sought another blessing for himself. But as he gave his blessing not in his name, but by the inspiration of God, they saw that it was God’s will for Jacob to receive the blessing of the firstborn, and he gave Esau a lesser blessing, but you live by your sword, and serve your brother.

From that time on, Esau hated his brother angrily, forgetting that he had sold him the firstborn right. Once he said in front of the servants that his father would die soon, then he will kill Jacob, his brother. Rebekah heard what Esau had said and told it to Jacob. She asked her son to listen to what she’ll show him.


The idea was to run to Laban, her brother, in Haran. And stay with him for a while, until his brother’s wrath passes, and then she will send for Jacob. Jacob heeded his mother’s advice. At Rebekah’s request, Isaac called Jacob, allowed him to go to Mesopotamia, and bequeathed to him to marry one of Laban’s daughters. Saying goodbye to his son, he confirmed his blessing: “God Almighty may bless you, and give you the blessing of Abraham, to inherit the land in which you are a stranger, which God gave to the descendants of Abraham.”

Heavenly ladders

In their story, this is where Jacob and Esau split. Rebekah did not like the women that Esau married, and she said that to Isaac. For this reason, Isaac commanded Jacob to marry the daughter of his uncle Laban. And Jacob obeyed his father, went to Laban. When Esau heard that Isaac had blessed Jacob and commanded him to marry Laban’s daughters, he went to Ishmael. Ishmael was also the son of Abraham, and he remarried, but this time to Ishmael’s daughter. When Jacob left his father’s house, he took only his father’s blessing. He was afraid that Esau would find him and kill him. Jacob repented and was very scared.

He prayed to God and sought God’s guidance. Jacob then lay down to sleep, putting a stone instead of a headboard. He was afraid that the God of his fathers had forgotten him. But God has not forgotten him. Tired of the journey, he dreamed of a ladder that was on the ground and went to heaven. He saw angels climbing the stairs. Then God appeared and confirmed that He is the God of his father Isaac and the God of Abraham.

He then repeated the promise given to Abraham and later to Isaac. God promised to stay with him wherever he went. And Jacob deceived the Lord, as his fathers did before him. When Jacob awoke, he said, “The Lord is in this place; this is the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven, ”and called this place Bethel, which means the house of God. God’s presence was felt in that place. Jacob got up and took the stone on which he slept and coated it with oil. He made a monument from that place and prayed to that holy place.

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Jacob meets Laban

In their story, this is where Jacob and Esau split. Rebekah did not like the women that Esau married, and she said that to Isaac. For this reason, Isaac commanded Jacob to marry the daughter of his uncle Laban. And Jacob obeyed his father, went to Laban. When Esau heard that Isaac had blessed Jacob and commanded him to marry Laban’s daughters, he went to Ishmael. Ishmael was also the son of Abraham, and he remarried, but this time to Ishmael’s daughter. When Jacob left his father’s house, he took only his father’s blessing. He was afraid that Esau would find him and kill him. Jacob repented and was very scared.

He prayed to God and sought God’s guidance. Jacob then lay down to sleep, putting a stone instead of a headboard. He was afraid that the God of his fathers had forgotten him. But God has not forgotten him. Tired of the journey, he dreamed of a ladder that was on the ground and went to heaven. He saw angels climbing the stairs. Then God appeared and confirmed that He is the God of his father Isaac and the God of Abraham.

He then repeated the promise given to Abraham and later to Isaac. God promised to stay with him wherever he went. And Jacob deceived the Lord, as his fathers did before him. When Jacob awoke, he said, “The Lord is in this place; this is the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven, ”and called this place Bethel, which means the house of God. God’s presence was felt in that place. Jacob got up and took the stone on which he slept and coated it with oil. He made a monument from that place and prayed to that holy place.

Marriage with two wives

Laban took care to keep him because Jacob was very useful to him with his work. And when Jacob said that he had a family and they needed to work for their house, Laban persuaded him to stay at least for a while to graze his flocks for a salary. Jacob served Laban for another six years, and the Lord blessed his labors. Jacob acquired a large herd. This progress aroused the envy of Laban and his sons. Then Jacob went with his family to Canaan to see his father, Isaac. And so, far from his house, he lived for twenty years in the house of Laban.

Leah directs all her energy to gain the love of Jacob and the Lord, seeing that Jacob did not care for Leah, opened her womb, and Rachel remained barren. Leah conceived and gave birth to a son. And she conceived again, and bore a son and so on several times. Having a son was the highest good for a woman in the ancient culture of the Middle East at that time. Even though Leah gave birth to four of them, things still don’t work. The reason is simple: she focused all her hopes and dreams on her husband. Leah is trying to find happiness and identity through traditional family values.

The impression is that each new birth pushed her deeper and deeper into the hell of loneliness. Every day she was forced to watch the person she longed to be in the arms of another woman.

Jacob leaves Laban

Each day was like stabbing a new knife into her heart. She is the only person in this narrative who experiences some spiritual progress, even though it only happens at the very end. The Lord relieved her and restored her life. The Lord saw that no one loved Leah. He loved her when everyone else did. Even when no one loves us, God loves us. Leah was undesirable, weak, rejected, but God loves all people without bias. When Jesus Christ came into the world as the Messiah he was born from the line of Leah, not Rachel.

He came from the tribe of Judah, and Judah was the fourth son of Leah. It took Leah years to learn to place his hope in God, not in man. Jacob and Rachel’s journey of learning was even longer. God is a just judge and has control over the world. If someone manages to deceive another person, he will not succeed in deceiving God in God’s court. People deceive each other, but no one can fool God.

In their story, Esau didn’t struggle to forsake the sins he committed, but we do see that Jacob fought with his wrongdoings. It is mentioned more than 40 times that Jacob called on God, prayed, and made an altar. While there is no writing that his brother mentioned God. And this is why God looked to Jacob and did not appear to Esau. For 20 years, Laban cheated Jacob for a salary. Jacob saw that Laban’s face changed toward him. Then, God told him to leave Laban. Later, Jacob went with his family and possessions to Canaan, his father Isaac. Far from his house, he lived twenty years.

Jacob meets Esau again

In his story, now, Jacob runs from Laban as he was running from Esau. Next time in the story, when Jacob meets Esau, he will be afraid. As they approached Canaan, Jacob saw the angels of God around. (He called that place Mannheim-the eye). Despite this comforting sight, he is quite frightened when he finds out that Esau is going to meet him and four hundred guys with him. To relate with Jacob try these free worksheets.

He sent expensive gifts to his brother, then let his flocks go, dividing them into two groups. He calculated that if Esau attacked one group, the other would be protected. And he began to pray fervently to God to save him from the hands of Esau. It was getting dark. Jacob sent his family with his property across the river, and he stayed alone and prayed to God. Suddenly, in the darkness of the night, someone approached him and started wrestling with him; the struggle continued until dawn. Jacob felt that he was not fighting with an average man, but someone powerful, while he was humbly praying.

The wrestler did not beat Jacob, he only dislocated his thigh from his wrist, and when it dawned, he asked Jacob to let him go. But, Jacob said that he would not let him go until he blessed Jacob. The wrestler then wanted to know what is his name. And received the answer, “Jacob.” Then he said: “From now on you will not be called Jacob, but Israel (God-fighter) because you fought heroically with God and with people. The wrestler resisted and blessed him (Jacob called this place the face of God). The sign of the fight was that Jacob was limping on his thigh.

The end of the story of Esau and Jacob

At the end of the story of Esau and Jacob, we see God’s plan. The next day, the brothers met and parted as brothers. Isaac went to his land, south of the Dead Sea; and the area was called Edom, after the name of Esau. And Jacob crossed the Jordan and pitched his tents around Shechem, where he bought a field and then moved in the direction of Bethel. Here the Lord appeared to Jacob and repeated his promise that he would give the land of Canaan to him and his descendants. Jacob went south from Bethel.

But he believed that God, who is too gentle, does everything and sends more troubles for the good of man, and that is why he called his youngest son when he gave birth to Rachel, Benjamin, which means a dream of happiness. After burying Rachel on the road to Bethlehem, Jacob went south and settled with Isaac in Hebron. When Isaac died, his sons Esau and Jacob buried him in the cave, and Isaac’s estate passed to Jacob. A significant and remarkable story of Esau and Jacob and Isaac in the book of Genesis.